*Val Gillane. 

FINE GAEL have added well-known businessman Val Gillane (FG) to their election ticket in the Shannon Municipal District.

Party officials had been working to add a candidate in South-East Clare for the local elections on June 7th with Clonlara based Val now joining Cllr John Crowe (FG) and former Senator Tony Mulcahy (FG) as their candidates in the Shannon MD.

Gillane’s addition to the ticket was announced exclusively on The Clare Echo’s political podcast, The Electoral Chair by the party’s Chairperson in Clare, Madeline Taylor Quinn (FG). She described Val as “an extraordinary person” with a very strong profile that would see them challenge strongly in the Shannon MD.

A native of Patrickswell, Val has lived in Clonlara for forty four years, he is an uncle of five-time All-Ireland winning Limerick hurler Aaron Gillane. He is married to Newmarket-on-Fergus native Catherine Gillane (nee Freeman) with five children, all of whom lined out for Clonlara and Truagh/Clonlara on the hurling and camogie field.

Two and a half years ago, he retired from running Clancy’s Foodstore in Parteen. For the past ten years, he has had multiple sclerosis, this condition is what prompted his decision to retire from business. He had been running the family business for thirty six years in South Clare which certainly strengthens his profile in the Shannon MD. “It has impacted on my mobility but my daughter has a saying, ‘it is part of me but it doesn’t define me’,” he stated.

“When I was in the shop in the latter stages, I had seventy to eighty people who had different forms of MS coming in, people had it that I didn’t realise had it for sixty years and that man is still alive and in his nineties”.

Having grown tired of “a lot of local promises,” Val decided to enter the election race. “I’m not in it for the photo opportunities, I’m in to try and deliver for the people, we’re based so far away from Ennis and there is a lot of issues down here. We’ve UL on our doorstep and access to UL is a big thing, we were promised a new walkway and footpaths but none of it has been delivered, there’s a lot of issues like that such as traffic calming and litter”.

When asked who was making the promises to the people of Clonlara and surrounding communities, Val responded, “I don’t think that is fair to go onto that, I’m not going to put down anyone, I’m not in this for a photo-opportunity, I’m in this to be genuinely helping people with their day to day problems, issues and simple things that can be rectified simply, they are the things I’d like to get done”.

A lifelong member of Fine Gael, Val believed the party was in transition rather than turmoil at present and said he was very impressed with new leader Simon Harris (FG) when he met him in 2014.

Party members had previously urged him to let his name go forward for local elections. “I was approached a couple of times down through the years but the commitment of the shop doesn’t give much free time, my eldest is married and my youngest is doing the Leaving Certificate so now is a good time,” he told The Clare Echo.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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